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Akaroa - Dolphin Swim - Black Cat Cruises

The only place on the planet, where you can get close to the world's smallest and rarest dolphin, the Hector's Dolphin. Simply rare and unique.


  • Swim with playful Hector's Dolphins in the Akaroa Harbour
  • Rated as one of the ‘Top 10 Marine Mammal Experiences in The World’ by Lonely Planet!
  • Once in a lifetime experience with the world's smallest and rarest dolphin
  • Complimentary refreshments onboard


Watch the video above!

Akaroa Harbour is the only place on the planet where you can get close to the world's smallest and rarest dolphin, the Hector's Dolphin!

These magnificent creatures have made their home base in Akaroa, a stunning French inspired sea-side village just a 90 minute scenic drive from Christchurch. The name Akaroa means "long harbour".

Join Black Cat Cruises for an unforgettable journey where you’ll get the once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with these dolphins inside the naturally protected harbour, not out in the open seas.

Black Cat Cruises are a supreme tourism award winning company with an excellent safety track record and a portion of every ticket sold goes towards the conservation of the Hector's dolphin.

We only allow 12 swimmers in the water at one time allowing greater opportunity for one on one interaction with the dolphins.


Success Rate:

  • We have a high success rate for swimming with these dolphins, but they are wild dolphins, so seeing them is a great privilege.
  • The great thing about viewing or swimming with dolphins is that you are doing it in their natural habitat completely on their terms, and so of course we cannot absolutely "guarantee" dolphins on every single trip, and nor can any other operator.
  • Sometimes dolphins may have calves with them, or are feeding, mating or just resting. It's important for us not to interact with dolphins when they don't want to.
  • But you may be interested to know that in the last 12 months we saw dolphins on 98% of our cruises and had successful swims on 81% of our swim trips. So you have to be a bit unlucky to miss out!
  • In the unlikely event you don’t see any dolphins (average 3% of cruises) then we give you a refund of 50%. If the dolphins don’t want to interact with swimmers (average 17% of cruises) then we give you a 25% refund.

    Adult $185.00 (16+ years)
    Child $155.00 (8 - 15 years)

    What's included

    • All equipment
    • Excellent quality wetsuits
    • Snorkels and goggles
    • Hot showers are available back on the wharf
    • Hot chocolate and biscuits on board
    • Free souvenir postcard


    • Allow approximately 3 hours for the whole experience


    • Departures are from the Akaroa Main Wharf, Akaroa, 7520.


    • Customers MUST be confident swimmers and capable in the sea.

      Child must be over 8 years to swim with dolphins.

      Children aged 8-12 years must be accompanied by adult swimmer

    Child Friendly

    • This experience welcomes families with children.

    Bad Weather Refunds

    • If your experience is cancelled by the operator (because of the weather or anything else out of your control) you will be entitled to a full refund.

    Available Bookings from January 19 to January 25

    Change Dates

    All prices are shown in NZD ($)

    Tue 19 Jan
    Wed 20 Jan
    Thu 21 Jan
    Fri 22 Jan
    Sat 23 Jan
    Sun 24 Jan
    Mon 25 Jan

    2spaces priced from:

    • Adult$185.00
    • Child$155.00

    6spaces priced from:

    • Adult$129.00
    • Child$155.00

    2spaces priced from:

    • Adult$149.00
    • Child$155.00

    4spaces priced from:

    • Adult$185.00
    • Child$155.00

    3spaces priced from:

    • Adult$185.00
    • Child$155.00

    4spaces priced from:

    • Adult$139.00
    • Child$155.00

    4spaces priced from:

    • Adult$129.00
    • Child$155.00

    4spaces priced from:

    • Adult$129.00
    • Child$155.00

    Authenticated Reviews & PhotosAll of our reviews are from people who have booked and paid for this activity thru Bookme

    Authenticated Reviews & PhotosAll of our reviews are from people who have booked and paid for this activity thru Bookme


    172 reviews

    Showing all 172 authenticated Bookme reviews

    wimm from New Zealand wrote on 18 January 2021

    great day

    Very friendly staff with good and clear explanation about H&S and what is going to happen , taking good effort to find dolphins. We did get refund on the price because they said that it was not up to standard for black cat cruises although we did swim with the dolphins. Not that many around but still a great time.

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    Charlie from New Zealand wrote on 11 January 2021

    Fantastic experience!

    Loved the dolphin swimming. The guide and skipper were extremely knowledgeable and care deeply about the dolphins. Would recommend highly for anybody looking to tick off that bucket list!

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    Kristin Ordnung from New Zealand wrote on 11 January 2021

    Awesome experience 🙂

    Thanks so much to the whole team. Absolutely did a great job in making it a special day to remember. chris and Lilly where lovely guide's and made us feel welcome and looked after. Would do it again any time. Great experience

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    joshuam3 from New Zealand wrote on 05 January 2021

    Lifetime Memorable Experience

    Did the morning session and probably each and every single Hector dolphin in the harbour. Did not disappoint. We were in the water and had a few different pods around. All equipment provided was super high quality!! Thanks again

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    malmeninga from New Zealand wrote on 02 January 2021


    Captain Chris was great and managed an engine issue well. Awesome experience with the dolphins.

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    10:00 a.m.Thursday 13 July

    Spaces Left

    Adult 16+ years

      Child 8 - 15 years

        *Option must be made together with another price type.

        Qualmark Certification

        This award identifies a business with a high level of professionalism, a keen awareness of the impact it has on the environment and a commitment to a customer centric approach.

        This award is evidence of a sophisticated tourism business that consistently exceeds visitor expectations. Their proactive leadership and management ensure the business’s focus on continuously improving their economic, social and environmental performance to create genuine, constantly evolving and sustainable tourism experiences.

        This award recognises the best sustainable tourism businesses in New Zealand. It denotes exceptional customer experiences at the heart of everything the company does. This business is leading the way in making the New Zealand tourism industry a world class sustainable visitor destination.

        When you see the Qualmark logo, your activity of choice is endorsed by New Zealand Tourism’s official quality assurance organisation and backed by leaders in the industry. It’s your trusted guide to iconic activities and experiences that are awarded for their exceptionally high level of quality, safety and sustainability.

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